Listener ?: Bread Baking Tips
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I received a question from a listener about making sandwich bread.  In the bakery business a sandwich loaf is called a Pullman loaf.  The dough is baked in a lidded rectangular loaf pan, so when cut; the bread is a nice square shape.  Unless you have one of these specialty pans, the bread you make at home will have a domed top.  

Accurate measuring of ingredients is a critical step in creating consistent, well developed bread loaves:

Too much or too little flour, salt, sugar or fat will prevent the gluten to fully develop, the bread will not fully rise and the crust will be tough.  

Too much heat will kill yeast, so the water temperature used in the bread recipe should be 110F. The water should be so hot that you automatically pull you hand away, but not so hot that you burn it.

When making bread, the flour should contain a high amount of protein and gluten that is why using bread flour is recommended.  All-purpose flour doesnít contain enough protein and gluten to get that nice chewy consistency.

If the dough sticks to your hand it is too wet, add 1 T of flour at a time and knead until a smooth, soft ball forms and if the dough is too dry, add 1 T of liquid at a time and knead until a smooth, soft ball forms.

Press a finger lightly into the dough. If the indentation remains, the dough has risen enough.

If dough tries to spring back to its original shape when kneading, rolling out for pizza crust or shaping into loaves, let it rest, covered, for 10 or 15 minutes, so the gluten can relax.

Remove the loaf of bread from the pan immediately upon removing from the oven to condensation doesnít make the bread soggy.

When it comes out of the oven, let bread cool at least 20 minutes before slicing.

Let bread cool completely on a rack before wrapping for storage. If you are taking the bread with you and it hasnít cooled completely, place in an open paper bag or leave on rack and cover with a clean kitchen towel.



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